Monday, July 10, 2017

68 points

Here are the two salient points in today's post:
1. I've lost weight. (YAYYYYY!!!!!)
2. I've lowered my cholesterol—by 68 points. (In this case, "yay" in all caps with five exclamation points may not suffice to express my elation.)

If you read the blog on a regular basis, you may recall being vaguely annoyed by my post of January 3 wherein I discussed my weight gain over the holidays and my strategy for fitting more comfortably in my clothes again. So here's the update on that:

I stopped eating sweets. No homemade oatmeal cookies or lemon-lavender muffins through the winter. No more agave nectar (or half & half) in my morning tea. (Whew, that was hard. Like, really, really hard.) That's all. Well, I mean, I tried not to overeat or snack out of boredom or whatever but mostly, I curtailed sweets. I've lost eight pounds. Yep. Sloooooowly, a couple ounces at a time, the weight came off. I feel better. I move more fluidly. My clothes fit better. Yoga is... still hard but slightly less hard and worth every bit of the workout every time. Namaste.

In November, my new-really-horrible-doctor had me do blood work and my cholesterol level was 278. She sent me an email saying she'd enrolled me in Kaiser's here's-how-to-eat-better class—even though I'd already told her I do eat healthy and I've been a vegetable vegetarian for fifteen years. I didn't attend the class. I did ask Kaiser nicely for another new doctor. I was then assigned my new-really-wonderful-doctor (Dr. Vendiola in the Redlands facility, and she's awesome). She asked me to do blood work. I said, "Of course. I came in fasting for that very purpose." Three days later I got the result: My cholesterol level is now at 208.

Seriously?!? This is good news. I haven't had a number below 240 in twenty years.

How did I do it? I retired.

You're laughing. I'm serious. That's all I've done differently. I'm not exercising any more than I did before. I'm not eating differently (other than these past couple of months without cupcakes—sob).

I was so fascinated by this number, I spent a bit of time researching the correlation between stress and high cholesterol, and then it made sense. Want me to explain it? You can read a fascinating abstract by clicking here, but this is the bottom line of the study:

Stress produces elevations in serum cholesterol concentrations.

Know what else does? Standing. In the same study, the cholesterol concentrations in test subjects rose when they were tested while standing. Yeah. What did I do all day long five days a week for twenty-seven years? I engaged in a highly stressful activity (teaching teenagers in a public school setting—damned bell to damned bell) while standing. No wonder my cholesterol kept going up and up and up no matter what I did. When the stress ended, my cholesterol level plummeted. Just. like. that. Booyah.

So once again, I highly recommend retirement (unless you can sit while performing the very relaxing tasks required for your job). Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going out to work in the garden. Then maybe I'll play my guitar for awhile.


  1. That is great, Kay. Congratulations. Maybe a cupcake now and then will be ok, if you do a bit of mediation first to get the stress level down and either sit or recline while you eat it. ;-)

    1. Art, let me tell you, my friend, I'm all for eating a cupcake while reclining! Best advice ever!